Posts Tagged ‘Chatham Square’

Is this the last OTB parlor in New York City?

May 15, 2017

In 2010, Off Track Betting went the way of the Automat and checker cabs—shut down by the state thanks to financial issues caused by waning interest in betting on horses.

But in Chatham Square in Chinatown, amazingly, the ghost of one OTB remains. Its doors are locked but the sign (and a Chinese translation!) is in place, a forgotten relic of a grittier 1970s and 1980s city.

New Yorkers of a certain age will remember OTB parlors (like the one below, in Times Square in 1971), each with its own cast of colorful, often sad-sack regulars placing bets or just hovering around the entrance.

A 2013 article from Daily Racing Forum recalled the Chatham Square OTB in all of its grimy glory.

“It was always crowded, and until the citywide ban you could barely see through clouds of cigarette smoke,” wrote Ryan Goldberg. “Before the races, Chinese men used to sit at the counter of the greasy dim-sum restaurant next door, examining the entries while eating Frisbee-sized pork buns.”

“Flyers notifying patrons where to cash their remaining tickets are still stuck on the dirty windows. Standing there, you half expect somebody to walk up and unlock the door, open the register and begin taking bets.”

[Second photo: NYPost/Getty Images; third photo: Bay Ridge OTB, 1977, via Flickr by Anthony Catalano]

Vintage ads fading away on brick buildings

February 28, 2011

This Chatham Square faded ad is tricky to decipher because it’s actually two ads, one painted on top of the other.

The newer ad is for Turkish Trophies, an old cigarette brand. Underneath it is the word “for” in yellow, and a long word with a fancy F.

That’s for Fletcher’s Castoria, a children’s laxative popular in the 19th century. Fletcher’s had ads all over the city; here’s one on 109th Street and Second Avenue.

Thurston & Braidich are described as “drug merchants” whose store at 130 William Street was damaged by a fire in 1901, according to a New York Times piece that year.

But in his 1902 obituary, Adolf Braidich is described as a gum importer. Whatever his game was, an ad bearing his name is still holding up in Tribeca.